Down may have been defeated, but they played well in parts and know they must produce a big performance against derby rivals Ballynahinch this weekend.

Against Antrim last Saturday there was enough to show the locals can make a concerted effort to stay in Senior One and they certainly have the personnel to avoid the relegation trap door.

A win over their derby rivals this weekend would take them to seven points and just a few more wins could guarantee their survival.

It was always going to be difficult last weekend against a side which incidentally drew its first league game of the season against Ballynahinch.

Down's 'keeper, Mark Johnston, and his defenders were again over-worked, and they stood up well against a sea of Antrim attacks.

The home side should have taken the lead in the fifth minute when a ball drilled across the penalty area wasn't cut out by the Down defence. Thankfully for them, there wasn't an Antrim forward in sight. Five minutes later the home side took the lead when a Ricky McClintock cross was swept home by Neil McCulloch.

Down were defending deep, but Paul Tate, Sinclair White and Gavin Ringland were trying to ease the pressure on the back four by soaking up the pressure in the middle of the park.

Antrim doubled their advantage in the 23rd minute when Ian Brownlees produced a terrific reverse stick shot which flew into the net like a bullet.

Antrim then went 3-0 when Ian Creighton scored and Johnston made a number of great saves as, not for the first time this season, he was peppered from all angles. Antrim took a 4-0 lead through Maybin minutes before the break.

Down were determined to deny the home side space in the second period and Taylor pulled a goal back for the visitors, with Tate the architect. He went on a mazy run down the left and came across the bye-line before slipping the ball to the unmarked Taylor to make it 4-1.

Antrim then moved up through the gears again to make it 5-1 through Brownless who scored with another superb reverse stick sweep shot before Down pulled another goal in the closing stages through Ringland. It came from a short corner after he had stopped Tate's push out and slipped the ball to White who fluffed his shot, but the ball came back to Ringland who drilled in into the middle of the net, past two defenders on the line.

It wasn't a hiding by any means and Down are improving all the time. This weekend they have to be on top of their game against Ballynahinch. Their opponents may trail them by three points, but a win would see them draw level. Quite simply, it's all to play for and both sides know just how important a win is.